ASJA Announces COVID-19 Award Winners

Janine Latus
Photo by Brands&People on Unsplash

We did it! Nearly 75 ASJA members volunteered their time to judge 500 entries, bringing attention to journalists doing the hard work of reporting and writing on a constantly changing, confusing, complex topic. Congratulations to the winners listed below, and a huge thank you to the judges and category coordinators who made it happen!

The Crisis Coverage Awards: COVID-19 Edition were the brainchild of our executive director, Holly Koenig. We opened them up globally, inviting entries from the first six months of this pandemic. The timeline was tight, the deluge of entries surprising, the money raised for cash prizes, the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund, and operating costs more than we expected—and our staff and volunteers pulled it off with nearly no glitches.

What impressed me as COVID-19 Awards Chair was our members’ willingness to contribute their time and expertise to read through the entries and then debate—sometimes passionately—the merits of one compared to another. Judging is always an opportunity to read excellent journalism, think hard about what makes it great, and then get to know fellow ASJA members, as panels negotiate their way to a winner. I heard from several who said they welcomed the stimulation and intellectual conversations in the midst of our collective isolation. As one said, “That was surprisingly fun!”

We have been announcing the winners across social media, one category at a time, and our members have been reading and boosting the winners, which brings attention to the important work but also raises the profile of ASJA—a double win. If you missed them, visit any of our social media outlets to catch up: Facebook, Twitter.

Congratulations to the winners:

Business & Economy

Costco Is Thriving During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Its Workers Say They’ve Paid the Price,” by Brianna Sachs and Ryan Mac, for Buzzfeed.


Imagine Online School in a Language You Don’t Understand,” by Rikha Sharma Rani, for the Fuller Project and The New York Times. 


State Policies May Send People with Disabilities to the Back of the Line for Ventilators,” by Liz Essley Whyte, for the Center for Public Integrity.

Honorable mention:

Russia’s Healthcare System Faced Cuts for Years. Now Medical Students Are on the Coronavirus Frontlines,” by Evan Gershkovich and Pjotr Sauer, for The Moscow Times.

Mental Health

The Biggest Psychological Experiment in History is Running Now,” by Lydia Denworth, for Scientific American.

Personal Essay

Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus,” by Andee Hochman, for Broad Street Review.

Honorable mentions:

Just This Breath,” by Heather Sellers, for The Sun.

Under Lockdown in Italy’s Coronavirus Quarantine Zone,” by Kenneth R. Rosen, for The New Yorker.

Politics & Government

Preparedness Spending Exploded After 9/11. Is That Helping Now?,” by Michael Schulson, for Undark.


Coronavirus May Be A Blood Vessel Disease, Which Explains Everything,” by Dana G. Smith, for Elemental.

Social Adaptation

Processing Grief When Nothing Is Normal,“ by Elizabeth Yuko, for Rolling Stone.


Tests to Detect Coronavirus on Surfaces Show Mixed Results,” by Lina Zeldovich, for Undark.

Thank you to the judges:

(an asterisk denotes the head judge of a panel)

Category Coordinators:

Salley Shannon

Sherry Paprocki

Mickey Goodman


* Cheryl Alkon

Sophia McDonald Bennett

*Stephanie Bernaba

Suzanne Boles

Bethany Bradsher

*Jessica Wambach Brown

Barry Burd

Tania Casselle

Caren Chesler

*Rebecca Christie

*Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

Ellen Count

*Diane Daniel

Lisa J Daniels

*Kristine Meldrum Denholm

*John Egan

*Arielle Emmett

Dan Ferber

*Lisa Fields

Sunny Fitzgerald

Stacey Freed

Linda Gilden

Beverly Gray

*Vince Guerrieri

Jennie Helderman

Parul Hinzen

Gloria Hochman

Elizabeth Meade Howard

*Casey Hynes

Tracy Ecclesine Ivie

Debbie Kaplan

*Kim Kavin

*Judy Kirkwood

Cindy Kuzma

*Ellen Lee

Christina Leimer

*Darcy Lewis

Charlotte Liebov

Ilima Loomis

Antonia Malchik

Linda Marsa

Pat McNees

*Debbie Miller

Eileen Moon

*Jennifer Nelson

*Keith Paradise

Emily Paulsen

Alicka Pistek

Kimberly Potts

Sallie Randolph

*Sarah Ludwig Rausch

*Deborah Robson

Christina Schweighofer

Susan Shafer

Ellen Sheng

Dava Stewart

*Marisa Sullivan

*Erica Sweeney

Lori Tripoli

*Stephanie Trovato

David Volk

Nancy Wade

Karon Warren

Robin Warshaw

Jill Wechsler

Dawn Weinberger

Robin Westen

Sylvia Whitman

Minda Zetlin